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Does your husband suck or does your wife suck or both of you suck when it comes to financial matters? Knowing this can make all the difference in how you succeed with money but more importantly as a happy couple. According to marriage.com money is the #2 reason for divorce just behind infidelity.
Only one is making enough to barely run the household living paycheck to paycheck. The other spouse has no ambition to earn money making it a tough situation to manage expenses and income. One spouse is spending to carelessly or conversely they are frugal where it is not fun to be around.
There is a myriad of reasons that money can become the base of the divorce. Even after the divorce money will be an issue with kids involved in the divorce in the form of alimony.
#1 LACK OF COMMUNICATION WITH MONEY
Being financially compatible with your partner is an important aspect to take seriously. This compatibility will go a long way for the both of you to be successful together.
Money should be an open conversation where all the cards are laid out for everyone to see and understand between the couple. Hiding debt/money or changing your money habits while you are with your spouse to avoid arguments does no one good. This will just feed a poor detrimental habit of not discussing faults and wins with money.
Talk about money and talk about it often before you say your vows. Ensure you are comfortable with their debts, their spending/saving habits, their risk taking in investments. Weddings and divorce are costly, way more than just having that discussion up front.
#2 BAD MONEY HABITS
If you observe each other and everything is great except their behavior in relation to money then you have already cut your odds for a successful marriage. She may have a great sense of humor but pisses money way impressing strangers. He jumps at every investment opportunity that he can get his hands on. Eventually that sense of humor will run dry when the bank account does as well.
Living frugally can be just as much as a deal breaker as well. Not seeing eye to eye on frugality at whatever level can be viewed by the spouse as controlling or suppression for items needed or wanted. If you are both big spenders or extreme frugal or somewhere in the middle, you both have to buy into that lifestyle and own it.
Do you have to agree on everything, no. But you have to be close enough to respect one another with monetary behavior. Get on the same page even if you are now married, it is never too late. Arrive to a common ground by talking to your spouse about what you expect and what they expect.
Even if you think you are close, talk. You will still find out things that you assumed were not there. Not going to promise that this will not start a heated discussion or an emotional one. You will air it out and you will be better for it especially when communication is the #3 reason for divorces. Talk Talk Talk!
#3 THEY ARE SLOWING THE FAMILY DOWN
Beyond avoiding divorce, getting on the same page has other benefits that are more lucrative than avoiding paying a divorce lawyer. Staying on the same page allows you to reach your financial goals whatever they may be.
Two people acting in unison is a much more efficient than going in complete different directions. Once goals are aligned reaching them together makes all the worthwhile and satisfying. It is a team effort at all times, so act like one!
If your goal is to retire in your 30/40s with the bare minimum needed for financial independence or 65 with multi million nest egg that you can pass off to your heirs, working together will be the most efficient to achieve it.
My wife and are close enough financially on how we spend our money, save it and invest it. We have had numerous healthy (some heated) discussion about what are goals are and how we view money. We focus on our needs and occasionally buy what we want if we come into money we were not expecting. She leaves the investing to me but I still discuss it with her so I have her buy into even though she trust me not to blow our money away (thanks honey!)
DON’T LET YOUR KIDS SUCK
To me the most important reason to be on the same pages is to teach your kids money habits that align to your family goals. Hopefully setting themselves up for even a better situation than you. A unified message to the kids shows how to cooperate with one another especially their spouse to achieve goals in life. Would you rather argue about money where you kids seeing you or hearing you from the next room over?
Good money habits early on that they follow all but leads to a guarantee that they won’t live at home on a permanent basis. Kids further will have the tools help themselves make more sensible decision if they see their parents doing the same. Kids mimic your behavior and attitudes, why not teach them good money habits.
- Setup a time where you can talk to each other candidly about monetary expectations and behavior. Ideally with no distractions from kids or work emails/calls.
- Set common goals of 5, 10, 20 years where you want to be financially.
- Talk to your kids about how you spend money and explain why you are doing what you are doing. Assuming your kids are at an age where they have a concept of money. I would suggest around 7-8 you start to explain how and why you are doing with money. They may not understand everything but repetition is the key driver here.